Posts Tagged ‘Neighbors’

Friends are flowers in the garden of life. ~ Proverb

I really enjoy building and working in flower beds. Creating a colorful palette of living plants around my home thrills me year after year.

Although it’s a bit embarrassing to admit, I don’t even mind weeding.  The ongoing maintenance, “playing in the dirt” as my friend Karen says, is therapeutic for me. It brings a connection with nature, a celebration of flora and fauna, that sitting behind a desk — even if I am writing clever prose — can never produce.

My neighbor, (also named Karen), regularly asks me to water her flowers when she is out-of-town because she knows how much I delight in the task of caring for plants — mine, hers, anyone’s flowers!

A couple of years ago, I looked up from my own flower bed and around at my neighborhood.  You could tell that many neighbors enjoy the growing process — their patios and beds and baskets are overflowing with magnificent colors. But there were several “vacant canvasses” that sadly stared back at me.

Instead of becoming frustrated at “naked beds” or just waving nonchalantly as these neighbors drove by, Greg and I reached out to them on a personal level. Actually listened to their stories.

We learned that one neighbor (although she loves flowers) doesn’t garden because she has a “black thumb.”  Another said that his wife used to take care of the flowers, and since she passed away he didn’t care any more. One young man was too busy, and yet another said she just needed some help and guidance.

Greg and I also began talking with our neighbors who have Miracle -Gro flowing through their veins.  They generously gave starts of their plants and shared their spoils.  They offered advice and support.

We also divided our own ferns, hostas, and day lillies, trumpet plants, little pink flowers and other amazing plants that we can’t identify.  We planted pussy willows and mint, myrtle and vinca. We watered new transplants, pulled weeds, and made friends.

Before we knew it, we had sparked a revolution. Our neighborhood began growing with colorful blooms, interesting plants, generosity, inspiration, and neighborly kindness.

And I couldn’t ignore how this entire process resembles life. Like my own flower garden, which is a mishmash of what I’ve purchased, grown, transplanted, received, and nurtured, my life is a combination of my own gifts and talents combined with the goodness and guidance, wisdom and instructions that others have planted for me.

Why not plant a flower — in a garden or in a life — for someone today?  As George Eliot said, “Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.”

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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